Finding hydrogen peroxide for cleaning in the UK is tricky, but it can be done.
Hydrogen peroxide is a legally restricted item: concentrations above 12% are not available to the general public but you may be able to grab a bottle of 3%, 6% or 9% concentration hydrogen peroxide from online chemical suppliers and some chemists, if purchased in-person.
Alternatively, hydrogen peroxide can be purchased online from numerous chemists, pharmacies, drugstores, eCommerce sites and auction websites.
Where To Find The Cheapest Hydrogen Peroxide In The UK
If you want to buy large quantities of extremely cheap hydrogen peroxide, check out online auction sites. The range of second-hand goods available to UK bidders is astounding and the prices can be even more jaw-dropping (in a good way!)
When British companies go bankrupt, it’s common for bailiffs to take possession of anything and everything they legally own. To cover their debts, these items are put up at public auctions, often at well below their actual value. To raise money as quickly as possible, auctions can be extremely short notice and may only last a few weeks.
UK online auction sites are an excellent source of dirt-cheap, bulk goods including hydrogen peroxide and other cleaning chemicals, tools, consumables and personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, if a hardware store has recently gone out of business, you might be able to buy their remaining stock of cleaning supplies.
Perhaps you’ll grab an entire palette of hydrogen peroxide for just a few pounds! The only catch is that most UK-based auction sites require in-person collection (they won’t allow a courier to pick up goods).
What Is The Strongest Hydrogen Peroxide For Cleaning In The UK?
Pure hydrogen peroxide (100% concentration) can set fire to almost all organic matter including fabric, wood and people! For safety reasons, the general public is only allowed to handle hydrogen peroxide with a concentration of 12% or lower. Most Hydrogen Peroxides intended for home cleaning range between 3% and 6% concentration.
Can You Buy Hydrogen Peroxide Online In The UK? (4 Reasons)
Absolutely! A quick online search will showcase countless online stores, both UK-based and international, willing to deliver hydrogen peroxide directly to UK addresses.
It’s generally quicker, safer and easier to order these items from UK-based businesses. Here’s why:
1. Your Order Will Arrive Sooner
Importing packages into the UK from abroad can be a slow ordeal. Major issues are currently slowing down Britain’s package-handling networks: increased paperwork (especially regarding EU customs requirements), COVID-related safety measures, delays at the border, strikes and delivery backlogs could all impact a hydrogen peroxide delivery into the UK.
2. Your Order Will Be Safer
All Hydrogen peroxide products, regardless of their strength, can be dangerous. However, the danger level is significantly increased when purchasing products from outside the UK.
The safety of all products sold in the UK is a legal requirement, enforced by Trading Standards. However, many countries outside of the UK, EU and USA have a more carefree attitude to chemical safety.
In 2016, over 10,000 dodgy teeth whitening kits were confiscated in a single UK raid by Trading Standards. The kits were analysed and found to contain a dangerously-strong 11% concentration of hydrogen peroxide – that’s approximately 100x stronger than typical teeth whitening kits!
Many people were left with sensitive teeth and chemical burns. Don’t take the risk: buy hydrogen peroxide from a reputable, law-abiding British supplier.
3. It’s More Financially Secure
Occasionally, for whatever reason, there will be issues with online hydrogen peroxide orders. If your item doesn’t arrive, or you’re not satisfied with the product, it’ll be much easier to get a refund or replacement from a UK-based supplier.
This is because of the stringent legal and financial protections given to all UK businesses and individuals.
4. It’s Easier
There are restrictions on the transportation of hydrogen peroxide by air: concentrations above 40% are completely prohibited while weaker concentrations are still subject to increased regulations.
Hydrogen Peroxides above 12% w/w are considered an “explosive precursor” under British law: only persons with a valid license from the Home Office are allowed to buy, sell and handle hydrogen peroxide above 12% concentration.
To save yourself from legal bother, stick to buying hydrogen peroxide from British retailers. Plus, you’ll be playing a small-but-vital role in supporting British businesses.
Can I Buy Hydrogen Peroxide At The Supermarket?
Only some UK supermarkets sell products containing hydrogen peroxide, both in-store on online. The following companies sell hydrogen peroxide-containing products but unfortunately, no major UK supermarket stocks hydrogen peroxide products for household cleaning:
- Tesco (40 volume hairdye and 3 cosmetics)
- Asda (40 volume hairdye)
- Sainsbury’s (40 volume hairdye)
- Waitrose (Essential Pre-Wash Stain Remover Spray)
- John Lewis (2 cosmetic facemasks)
- B&M Bargains (40 volume hairdye)
- The Range (3 hairdye creams of unknown concentration)
Buying Hydrogen Peroxide At UK Chemists & Pharmacies
In 1818, a technique for the mass-production of hydrogen peroxide was pioneered by Louis-Jacques Thenard, a French chemist. Until the 1980s, hydrogen peroxide was almost exclusively sold to the general public through pharmacies and chemists.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as legal restrictions have been placed on buying hydrogen peroxide. If you want to buy a single bottle of pure liquid hydrogen peroxide in the UK, consider asking at your local chemist or pharmacy; don’t be surprised if they no longer sell it.
Hydrogen peroxides suitable for cleaning may be available over-the-counter in pharmacies, chemists and drugstores. For safety reasons, stronger hydrogen peroxide-containing products are either locked in a safety cabinet or hidden from view, away from the general public’s reach.
For legal reasons, your ID will need to be checked and some personal details recorded whenever liquid hydrogen peroxide is sold in the UK.
The following UK highstreet and online-only pharmacies, chemists and drugstores sell hydrogen peroxide-containing products. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Boots: 586 cosmetics and haircare products containing hydrogen peroxide, no cleaning products.
- Holland&Barrett: 61 cosmetics and haircare products containing hydrogen peroxide, no cleaning products.
- ChemistDirect: 1 6% hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Chemist-4-u: 6 earwax treatments, 1 hair-lightening cream and various bottles of liquid 3%, 6% and 9% hydrogen peroxide.
- ExpressChemist: 2 haircare products, 2 topical skin creams, 1 mouthwash as well as 3%, 6% and 9% liquid hydrogen peroxide bottles.
- Superdrug: 3 haircare products and 1 9% hydrogen peroxide solution 200ml for in-store collection only!
What Can I Clean With Hydrogen Peroxide?
According to research from ISM, Utah State University and Fisher Scientific, weak concentration hydrogen peroxide (2% – 6%) won’t immediately react with the following materials. However, hydrogen peroxide can still corrode, bleach, weaken or otherwise damage all of these materials if it remains in contact with a surface for extended periods of time.
To minimise the risk of ruining the following materials with H202, always rinse the cleaned areas thoroughly, with lots of tap or distilled water, once cleaning is completed; this neutralises any remaining hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen Peroxide Safe Materials and Surfaces
Stainless Steel, ABS Plastic, Aluminium, Polycarbonate, Polypropylene, PVC (Including Rigid, Uncompounded and Flexible PVCs), Vinyl, Silicone, Titanium, Porcelain, Most Tiles and Bathroom Surfaces, Ceramic, Silicon Rubber and many more materials.
Always abide by the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply hydrogen peroxide to a discrete “test spot” before committing to cleaning an entire surface.
What Should You Not Clean With Hydrogen Peroxide?
The following is not an exhaustive list. There are many, many materials that shouldn’t come into contact with H202.
Some common household surfaces that should NOT be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide include: Epoxy, Brass, Copper, Chromium, Most Metals, All Alcohols, Acetone, Tungsten Carbide and Leather.
Top Tip: Always Wear Gloves When Handling Hydrogen Peroxide!
It’s always a good idea to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling dangerous chemicals. PPE does not mean that you should wear a full hazmat suit to clean your kitchen tiles; instead, use common sense.
Protect your hands from chemical burns by wearing gloves, tying back loose hair and if you feel it’s necessary, wearing eye protection.
Neoprene, natural rubber latex (NRL) and PVC gloves are sometimes considered the “best” options for handling hydrogen peroxide. Avoid powdered and synthetic latex gloves; these don’t offer adequate protection and could cause a chemical reaction.
Some sources suggest always washing gloves with lots of water after using hydrogen peroxide, even if you plan on throwing them away immediately afterwards. This seems counterintuitive but hydrogen peroxide becomes more corrosive, toxic and flammable over time.
This is because water molecules, used to dilute H2O2 down to safe levels, will naturally evaporate (turn into a gas) over time; the dangerous result is hydrogen peroxide. A simple rinse with tap water is fine.
Unlike many household cleaning chemicals, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen gas and liquid water, both of which are environmentally safe.
How To Store Hydrogen Peroxide
- Always be kept in its original packaging.
- Be stored away from heat.
- Be stored in the dark.
- Be opened carefully, to avoid spillages (oxygen gas can build up in H202-containing cleaning agents over time, sometimes causing a “rapid release of pressure”).
- Be opened while wearing eye protection.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Uses And Applications
- Environmental Applications (wastewater treatment and oil spill cleanup)
- Food Processing (food colourings and Bacterial Control)
- Mining (processing and refining ore)
- Electronics (creating circuit boards and semiconductors)
- Aquaculture (fish delousing)
- Textiles (bleaching)
- Paper Processing (pulping, bleaching and de-inking)
- Aerospace and Defense (rocket fuel)
- Swimming Pools (anti-algae agent)
|% Hydrogen Peroxide (Concentration)||Typical Uses|
|0%||Pure water; used to dilute hydrogen peroxide|
|3% - 5%||Home cleaning (soft surfaces), washing laundry and some cosmetic use|
|5% - 12%||Home cleaning (hard surfaces) and hair bleaching|
|12% - 90%||For professional use only, used across industries|
|90% - 100%||Extremely dangerous, used as an experimental rocket propellant|
Other UK names for hydrogen peroxide (ordered from most to least common) include: H2O2, peroxide, oxydol, dihydrogen dioxide, hydrogen oxide, hydrogen dioxide and peroxyde.
You may occasionally encounter the complicated-looking terms ‘CAS:7722-84-1’ and ‘EINECS:231-765-0’ on hydrogen peroxide packaging; these are unique chemical identification numbers.
The Different Grades Of Hydrogen Peroxide
|% Hydrogen Peroxide (Concentration)||Grade Name|
|6%||Beautician Grade, Cosmetics Grade|
|30% - 35%||Electronics Grade|
Be careful: the“hydrogen peroxide grades” in the table above are not official names! Don’t ever purchase hydrogen peroxide based on the grade name alone – read the label and look at its concentration instead!
Different manufacturers often mix and match the terms between different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. For example, both 3% and 35% hydrogen peroxides are frequently labelled as “food grade” despite their massive difference in strength.
Dangers Of Hydrogen Peroxide
According to Public Health England guidance, the safe limit for exposure to hydrogen peroxide is 1ppm per hour. 1ppm (parts per million) means it’s only considered safe for human health to breathe in a single hydrogen peroxide molecule for every million molecules of air inhaled.
Hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used in clinical settings: up to 2% concentration for mouthwashes and up to 6% concentration to disinfect minor cuts.
Since 2014, hospitals across the UK have been officially warned against using hydrogen peroxide in open wounds and body cavities. This is because hydrogen peroxide can generate toxic gas within the body, leading to numerous cases of emphysema and permanent neurological damage.
Do UK Petrol Stations Sell Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide may be available at some petrol station minimarts (the small shops on petrol station forecourts), but this isn’t commonplace.